Monday, May 05, 2008

'SHOCKING LAFFS' Bubble Gum Cards





Similiar to the American 'You'll Die Laughing' bubble gum cards that came out during the 1960's/70's. 'Shocking Laffs' a.k.a.Shock Theatre was a set of 50 cards released in 1976 by Topps Chewing Gum Inc. and printed in the U.S.A. The set would feature wonderful colour photos from mainly Hammer Dracula films. The 'You'll Die Laughing' cards would feature black and white photos from mainly Universal Monster films, many of these photos were altered and would feature mystery faces in place of the non-monster characters featured in the photos. Films that were covered in the Shocking Laffs cards were 'Dracula a.d.1972', 'Frankenstein must be destroyed', 'The Satanic rites of Dracula', 'Dracula has risen from the grave', and 'Taste the Blood of Dracula'. Also Like the You'll die Laughing cards the photos would have a corny caption underneath and on the back an equally corny joke usually between 2 monsters, ghosts, witch doctors etc. Underneath these were a little description about the film scene featured on the front. The jokes and description were framed by cartoon monsters, the same on each card. Shocking Laffs background colour on the backs of the cards were either light red or dark red, strangely the set of 50 cards did not have a number 17 but instead had 2 number 47 cards, not sure the reason behind this. Apprently there is also 2 number 40 cards both have the same photo on the front but a different joke on the back, there is also a rare American test set that features some cards with different photos on the front.

The pictures above show an original box that the cards would of been sold in, this was featured on ebay a few years ago, I have no idea what it sold for, but I am pleased that I saved the picture as I have never seen another anywhere. The other pictures show examples of cards-No.5 showing a scene from 'Frankenstein must be Destroyed' and No.15 with a scene from 'Taste the Blood of Dracula', next is a the back of card No.45, and the last picture shows both No.47s.

12 comments:

Anonymous said...

I remember these cards being sold by (unusually) ice cream vans. I think they were around 10p (or a bit more) a packet, which was about the price of the Beano or Dandy around 1978, or a bag of crisps. They were probably the first horror cards to hit the UK in full colour. Just at that time, the real buzz was around star wars cards, which were selling out to the extent that newsagents run out of supply.

Paul said...

Hi
Not sure if I remember ice-cream vans selling these cards, but it wouldn't surprise me. What a great idea though. I don't really remember the Shocking Laffs cards in the shops at the time, but I always remember that my dad had a couple of 'You'll die Laughing' cards in his wallet and some Aurora monster kits on the window sill.

cplmarr said...

I don't remember these cards at all but I did have (and maybe still do!) just a few of the YOU'LL DIE LAUGHING cards. But I have no idea where I got them from!!!

However, I have found a link to a website that lists all of the YOU'LL DIE LAUGHING CARDS (front and back) which may be of interest?

http://www.bubblegum-cards.com/Youll-Die-Laughing/

Hope it's ok to share this link with you?

Paul said...

Hi cplmarr

Yes I am familiar with the 'You'll Die Laughing' cards, I have a few myself too. I first came across these because my Dad used to keep a couple in his wallet which he used to show to me back in the 70s.
Great set of cards, have you ever wondered whose faces they are on some of the cards which replace certain characters from the featured film? I wonder if they were members of staff who worked for A & BC?

Chris said...

Can't remember if I ever got the full set of these. I remember being disappointed that I hadn't seen most of the films the pictures were from.

Anonymous said...

I have a full set of these cards which I collected when at school. How much would they be worth now

Paul said...

Hi Chris
Have you now seen all the films featured on the cards?

Paul said...

Hi
Not sure how much a full set of Shocking Laffs would be worth, depends on condition. I have seen them on ebay go from about 50 pounds upwards. There is an American print of the set too which has different images on some cards, I think these are supposed to be worth quite a bit. Also the back of the British cards were either printed light red or dark red, the light red prints are worth more than the dark red for some reason. Maybe the light red were first printings. The Shocking Laffs cards are more expensive than the American 'You'll die Laughing' cards which came out before and were a similar format.

Chris said...

Yes, I've seen them all now Paul :)
We're moving soon and so we're currently going through the loft and having the first proper clearout in a couple of decades and I just found these cards. Didn't even know I still had them and I did have the full set all along!

Magpie said...

I used to have the full set of these--even if I still had them they wouldn't be worth much since I won most of them by flicking contests (which is murder on the corners and edges). In my school, it was pretty much divided between those who collected/traded/played for Shocking Laffs card or Star Wars. I do have a few You'll Die Laughing cards in my collection.

Paul said...

Hi Chris
Thats fantastic that you came across your full set, you must of been really pleased and surprised.

Paul said...

Hi Magpie
Yeah I remember playing those flicking games with the cards, can't remember what cards I had at the time, don't remember having any Shocking Laffs though. I have a few You'll die laughing cards too, really love these ones.